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Walking faster is better for your health

Everyone is always telling Deb to “slow down!”, but maybe she is just trying to live a little longer.

A new study has found those who report faster walking have lower risk of premature death. Compared to slow walkers, average pace walkers had a 20% lower risk of early death from any cause, and a 24% lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke.

The results suggest walking at an average, brisk or fast pace may be beneficial for long term health and longevity compared to slow walking, particularly for older people.

Findings suggest it is a good idea to step up to a pace that will challenge your physiology and may even make walking more of a workout.

Long term-health benefits aside, a faster pace will get you to your destination faster and free up time for all those other things that can make our daily routines special, such as spending time with loved ones or reading a good book.

Another study has found that active people spend less time in hospital. The inactive people (taking 4,500 steps per day) averaged 0.97 days of hospital care per year. The more active people (taking 8,800 steps per day) needed only 0.68 days of care per year.

If we could get everyone to walk more, what effect would this have on health services? Considering only the people aged over 55, at a minimum it would reduce the need for hospitalisation by 975,000 bed days per year, for a saving of $1.7 billion dollars. Not a bad outcome for getting on your feet a bit more!

And getting an extra 4300 steps per day is not much. It’s just 40 minutes walking, which might include going to the shops, picking up kids, or taking the stairs at work.

Let us know how you go!

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